The Japanese Cemetery Park – Japanilainen hautausmaa

I find old cemeteries very interesting places. The Japanese Cemetery park is no exception. Founded by three Japanese brothel-keepers, the cemetery was built in 1891 as a burial ground for karayuki-san, or Japanese women brought here for prostitution, many of whom died poor and destitute. This is the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia and a burial ground of Singapore’s early Japanese community. Over the years, nearly 1,000 Japanese civilians were buried there, mostly during the pre-war years. The cemetery also holds the ashes of thousands of Japanese soldiers, marines and airmen killed during World War II, as well as the remains of 135 Japanese war criminals who were executed at Changi Prison. The cemetery was a burial ground until 1947, and became a memorial park in 1987. 

This small cemetery park is located at a quiet residential neighbourhood in Hougang about 15 mins walk from Kovan MRT. The graves are relatively well maintained thanks to the Japanese Association of Singapore who oversees its upkeep. Too bad I can’t read Japanese as it would have been interesting to read some of the writings.

This was a great discovery for me and I’m happy I was able to play a visit here. As well as in the Bukit Brown cemetery there are warning signs about dogs. I didn’t see any dogs and I was the only one in the park. However I got a bit scared of every noise and was looking over my shoulder all the time in case I would see dogs around. If you are interested in old cemeteries or history then this place is a good place for a visit. The cemetery park is not big so you should be able to discover it within two hours.

Vanhat hautausmaat ovat mielestäni kiehtovia ja kätkevät sisäänsä paljon historiaa. Vierailin jokin aika sitten japanilaisella hautausmaalla. Tämä pieni, mutta silti kaakkois-Aasian suurin japanilainen haustausmaa, sijaitsee keskellä rauhallista omakotitaloaluetta. Jos tämän paikan olemassaolosta ei tiedä, tänne et taatusti vahingossakaan eksy. Hautausmaan perusti aikoinaan kolme japanilaista bordellinpitäjää. Hautausmaalle on haudattu lähes 1000 siviiliä, tuhansien japanilaisten sotilaiden tuhkat sekä 135 Changin vankilassa teloitetun japanilaisen sotarikollisen jäännökset. Hautausmaa suljettiin 1947 ja avattiin uudelleen puiston muodossa 1987. Nykyään puiston ylläpidosta vastaa Singaporen japanilainen yhdistys.

Hautausmaa on suhteellisen hyvässä kunnossa, verrattuna esimerkiksi Bukit Brownin kiinalaiseen hautausmaahan. Japanilaisen hautausmaan portilla oli varoitus puistossa käyskentelevistä kulkukoirista. Tuoreessa muistissa on edelleen kiinalaisella hautausmaalla näkemäni koirat, joten olin hiukan varuillaan mennessäni hautausmaalle. Tällä kertaa en onneksi nähnyt yhtään koiria, vaikkakin jokainen oksan räsähdys säikäytti minut. Hautausmaa on nopea vierailukohde. Minulla meni siellä n. pari tuntia, mutta ilman kuvaamista sen varmasti kävelee nopeamminkin läpi. Kannattaa käydä mikäli historia tai vanhat hautausmaat kiinnostavat.

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The Prayer Hall – Rukoushuone.

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The Japanese War Memorials – Japanilaisia sotamuistomerkkejä.

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The tombstone of Field Marshall Count Terauchi Hisaichi, who was the Supreme Japanese Commander for the Southeast Asian during the Pacific War.

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The Japanese Cemetery Park

825B Chuan Hoe Ave, Singapore 549853

Open daily 8am-6.30pm

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